Are Kit Homes Really The Future of Property?
Steel Kit Homes have made a large impact on the Australian property market in recent years, which raises the obvious question of why it has had such a mild impact on the UK and US housing market.
On the face of it, kit homes seem like a fantastic solution for those looking to buy a house. They cost as little as £20,000 (roughly $30,000), and can be built in less than six weeks. With housing costing such a small amount, many wouldn’t need to scrabble around for a mortgage; those that can’t afford 20K upfront would be able to seek finance from the property supplier.
So why haven’t they ‘caught on’ in the UK and US?
First, it is likely that kit home companies haven’t actually attempted to penetrate the European and US market. With prefabricated homes being a fairly new concept, it might take a good 10 years for Australian companies to start trying to make a mark on other locations.
It’s also fair to say that many people in the UK and US like traditional housing (the British in particular). Although kit homes come in a range of designs, they all tend to be quite modern looking. Whilst some people do like clean, modern and different looking housing others don’t, which makes planning permission an obvious problem.
Another problem might be that in the UK there is a shortage of land that can be built on; the land that is available for purchase will cost the owner dearly. This problem is averted in countries like Australia where there are much larger spaces of cheap land that can be developed on.
Kit homes may be considered by government bodies looking to develop cheaper and higher quality public housing. Council estates in the UK are becoming fairly out dated and, considering kit homes cost less to develop, we might see large quantities of prefabricated homes in the future for those on a low income.
Whether kit homes will penetrate the British, American and European market or not is unclear at this stage. What is clear is that a cheaper and more sustainable solution to housing does need to come along; kit homes work in Australia, so they might work here. The question is whether we’ll accept them or not.